Blue Origin Named Its Space Flight Dummy 'Mannequin Skywalker'

A squirrel who nearly died when she was attacked by an owl eight years ago continues to visit the Greenville County family that took her in raised her and released her

Images released by the company show it also carried an instrumented test dummy, identified as "Mannequin Skywalker" in a caption.

Blue Origin debuted a new vehicle on Tuesday, taking over test operations from the since-retired vehicle that achieved numerous milestones and successes.

The flight was the first New Shepard launch to be carried out under a full-fledged launch license from the FAA, issued to Blue Origin in August.

However, that first test did not result in the recovery of the booster because of a loss of pressure event in the booster's hydraulic system.

In 2015, Blue Origin became the first to vertically land a rocket just after launching it to space; the company would then go on to launch and land that same New Shepard vehicle a total of five times.

The recent flight was the third New Shepard tail number to fly. For today's test, though, Blue Origin didn't announce its plans to fly New Shepard and at the time of press still hasn't publicly confirmed the test. It did not immediately release any data from the test dummy sensors.

Blue Origin Named Its Space Flight Dummy 'Mannequin Skywalker'
Blue Origin Named Its Space Flight Dummy 'Mannequin Skywalker'

That previous test series concluded with a successful abort test, which was expected to result in the loss of the booster.

"Added Bezos: "#NewShepard had a successful first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0 today. Blue Origin said it was planning "spaceflight operations" there and would cancel the NOTAM after the operations were complete. The only news a return to testing was about to occur came from the required NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) of a test at the West Texas facility. "He had a good ride", tweeted company founder Jeff Bezos. The video also provided additional details on the upgrades. It's notable for its large windows that measure 2.4 x 3.6 ft (73 x 110 cm), but on this flight the only passenger was "Mannequin Skywalker", an instrument-laden test dummy created to return flight telemetry.

The single-stage rocket, powered by a throttleable BE-3 engine, took off from Blue Origin's test site near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday under a veil of secrecy.

The booster had a maximum descent velocity of Mach 3.74. "It marks the inaugural flight of our next-generation Crew Capsule as we continue step-by-step progress in our test flight program".

It's the first big test flight the company has done in more than a year.

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